Mys­tery house doors are open

Central Leader - - News - By Karen Kotze

Ev­ery sub­urb has one – or at least has sto­ries about one just down the road.

They are the witch houses, the wizard homes, the wild abodes of reclu­sive old men and women with se­crets shaded by over­grown gar­dens.

In Ep­som, in a quiet cul-de­sac, Ian Beres­ford Madden lived in such a home.

In Mr Madden’s last years he led a reclu­sive life at 15 Belvedere St.

Years ago, he boarded up the win­dows and re­fused vis­i­tors.

The gate to his prop­erty bore out his sen­ti­ments suc­cinctly with a sign that read: No en­try to can­vassers agents or in­quir­ers.

But Mr Madden was no wizard.

He was a re­spected teacher, bar­ris­ter and so­lic­i­tor of the High Court, pas­sion­ate his­to­rian, a coun­cil­lor and a prop­erty man­ager.

He was a found­ing mem­ber of The Her­aldry So­ci­ety, and was made a fel­low of the so­ci­ety in 2006.

His home, the sub­ject of much mys­tery, is to be auc­tioned on Satur­day in front of an an­tic­i­pated crowd of 1000.

Af­ter his death at 77 years of age in El­iz­a­beth Knox Hospi­tal on Au­gust 13 last year, Mr Madden’s home was again ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic, and the cu­ri­ous, for the first time in more than 20 years.

David Jones of Cen­tury 21 says he’s never seen such a rush of in­ter­est in a freshon-the-mar­ket home.

“I ar­rived here the first day of the open home to find a queue of peo­ple all the way down the street.

“I must have had more than 400 peo­ple come through the first day, even more the next,” he says.

Whether it is the home’s pre­vi­ous in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity or the ap­peal of a do-up in lean times that has brought so many feet through, re­mains to be seen.

“Mr Madden was born in this house, and lived here his whole life,” Mr Jones says.

“He lived alone, and spent count­less hours re­search­ing the monar­chy and what he be­lieved was his lin­eage to William Shake­speare.”

Scores of books on ge­neal­ogy lined the walls in many of the rooms.

His re­search ma­te­ri­als, which were scat­tered through­out the house, have been taken care of by the trust looking af­ter his ef­fects and prop­erty.

Mr Jones says the two-storey house on the north-fac­ing ter­raced site rep­re­sents quite a va­ri­ety of ar­chi­tec­tural styles and he de­scribes it as a buried trea­sure.

Its or­nate ceil­ings have been beau­ti­fully pre­served.

The house has touches of an­tiq­uity and unique fea­tures through­out, such as the old laun­dry chute that goes from the up­stairs bath­room to the laun­dry wringer over the basin in the scullery.

The stair­case has mixed wood, be­lieved to be rimu and kauri, and the lounge has un­usual lamp­shades and a tiled fire­place.

De­spite its age, the home is airy and light.

“The house has three bed­rooms, one bath­room and garage and sits on a 865 square me­tre prop­erty.

“There is room to re­con­fig­ure as one wishes,” Mr Jones says.

The on­site auc­tion is at 1pm on Satur­day. For in­for­ma­tion go to www.cen­tury21.co.nz or call Mr Jones on 520-5871.

Photo: AMELIA JA­COB­SEN

Home re­vealed: David Jones of Cen­tury 21 shows off 15 Belvedere St be­fore its auc­tion.

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